EFA Meeting in Zagreb: Open The Door to Arts and Culture

11 May 2010

On 5/6 June 2010, the European Festivals Association (EFA), the major network for festivals from Europe and beyond, reconfirmed its commitment to a cultural Europe. First to sign the document was Ivo Josipović, President of Croatia and former long-standing director of the Music Biannale Zagreb. Together with 30 festivals from the South-European region EFA urges a broad recognition of the role of arts and culture in society and closer cooperation between the Balkan region and the rest of Europe. The event was part of the EFA flagship project ”Open The Door” ( initiated at the occasion of the European Year For Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion. It was co-organised with the Music Biennale Zagreb and the Croatian Composers’ Society. Ivo Josipović underlined that the societal role of culture has to be recognised in particular by political decision-makers that are not related to culture. “I’m trying to involve culture in other policies. (…) The situation can be improved if politicians, cultural actors and artists have a proper relation, a proper goal on Europe.” He also emphasised the significant work of networks such as the European Festivals Association in order to reach that goal also beyond European borders: “Your mission not only in Europe but also in Asia and Africa is very important.” Next to Ivo Josipović, Darko Brlek (EFA President), Antun Tomislav Šaban (General Secretary of the Croatian Composers’ Society), David Baile (CEO International Society of the Performing Arts, ISPA, on behalf of 350 members from all over the world) and festivals from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Kosovo, Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia and Turkey call for a long-term support of the cultural sector in political, structural as well as in financial terms. “The variety of inherent values culture and international cultural collaboration bring about must become a focal point in all policy areas,” states the Commitment. EFA President Darko Brlek said: “Arts and culture are key factors for regional development and integration as well of active citizenship. For 60 years, EFA and its members have engaged in international collaboration regardless of political boundaries or borders.” The Zagreb meeting was the third stop of the “Open The Door” project after Stockholm/Sweden where it was launched and Merano/Italy where the 2010 EFA General Assembly and Conference took place. So far, more than 100 festivals have committed to increase access to festivals for artists and citizens through the project website Related links and documents: • Press release in English, French and GermanZagreb Commitment: “Open The Door to Arts and Culture – Open The Door to Europe” • Media coverage Zagreb event (as of 11 June 2010) • Media coverage on "Open The Door" (as of 11 June 2010) • www.Open-The-Door.euPhoto GalleryMusic Biennale Zagreb